Mr. Sanusi Lamido, the Emir of Kano has asked Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigeria President to tell his county men the truth about how bad the economy is.
The traditional ruler also called on Buhari to remove subsidy saying its payment will make Nigeria go bankrupt.
Huge amount of monies spent in petrol subsidy payments, subsidy in electricity tariffs and expending 70 percent of the nation’s income in servicing debt poses is a huge challenge to Nigeria economic growth and development, he pointed out.
The Emir made this known at the 3rd National Treasury Workshop organized by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
The event was held at the Coronation Hall, Government House, Kano.
Sanusi asked Mr. Muhammadu Buhari to remove subsidy in petroleum and electricity tariffs, saying that is the only way to stabilize the nation’s economy.
“The country is Bankrupt and we are heading to bankruptcy. What happened is that the Federal Government do pay petroleum subsidy, pay electricity tariff subsidy, and if there is rise in interest rates, Federal Government pays.
What is more life-threatening than subsidy that we have to sacrifice education, health sector and infrastructure for us to have cheap petroleum. If truly President Buhari is fighting poverty, he should remove the risk on the national financial sector and stop the subsidy regime which is fraudulent.”
Sanusi has since asked Buhari to disclose to Nigerians the true state of the nation’s economy and and work hard with his team to fixing it.
“Since I have decided to come here, you have to accept what I have said here. And please, if you do not want to hear the truth, never invite me. So let us talk about the state of public finance in Nigeria. We have a number of very difficult decisions that we must make, and we should face the reality. His Excellency, the President said in his inaugural speech that his government would like to lift 100 million people out of poverty, it was a speech that was well received not only in this country, but world-wide.
“The number of people living with poverty in Nigeria are frightening. By 2050, 85 percent of those living in extreme poverty in the world will be from the African continent. And Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo will take the lead. Two days ago, I read that the percentage of government revenue going to debt services has risen to 70 percent.
”These numbers are not lying. They are public numbers. I read them in the newspapers. When you are spending 70 percent of your revenue on debt services, then you are managing 30 percent. And then, you continue subsidizing petroleum products; and spending N1.5 trillion per annum on petroleum subsidy! And then we are subsidizing electricity tariff. And maybe, you have to borrow from the capital market or the Central Bank of Nigeria to service the shortfall in the electricity tariff, where is the money to pay salaries, where is the money for education, where are other government projects.
Although different regimes in Nigeria for over 30 years had held on to subsidy payments, this is is the time to let it go, Sanusi insists.